Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Gordonstoun principal: School counselling ‘busier than ever’ due to sacrifices of past year

Gordonstoun School in Moray. Picture from Shutterstock
Gordonstoun School in Moray. Picture from Shutterstock

The principal of Gordonstoun School in Moray has asked leaders to take the mental health of young people seriously, as she revealed its counselling service is “busier than ever”.

Lisa Kerr said the response to the Covid pandemic has meant the brains of students are being harmed while they are still developing, as they repeatedly go into isolation and are told they are a danger to others.

Writing in a guest column for The Times, Ms Kerr said: “Canvassing my network of dozens of heads in the independent and state sector, one school has seven children on suicide watch.

“Another has had three attempted suicides this term and another a quadrupling of eating disorders.

“One colleague summed up our dismay by describing going to work as ‘watching children fall apart in front of our eyes every day’.”

Lisa Kerr outside Gordonstoun School. Picture by Peter Jolly

She added: “At my school, even though we’ve implemented an outstanding mental health recovery curriculum with additional expeditions, sail training and outdoor learning, our counselling is busier than ever.”

In the column, she accused political leaders of being afraid to ask how young people are feeling after 15 months of restrictions, saying: “The answer is that they are not good. Really not good.”

Mental health apps launch

On Sunday, two new apps were launched to help provide mental health support to young people across Aberdeenshire.

Kooth, for those aged 10 to 18, and Togetherall, for those aged 16 and over, will be available to those who need them seven days a week, 365 days a year.

As well as sessions with doctors, professional therapists, counsellors and social workers, app users will also have the opportunity to talk to specially trained “peer mentors”, who are their own age.

The initiative is being funded by a Scottish Government grant for the development of community mental health services for children and young people.

Scottish Government funding

Last November, the government announced £15 million of funding would be made available to local authorities to respond to mental health issues in five to 24-year-olds, with a focus on pressures resulting from the pandemic.

It would be split up into £11.25m for services in response to the pandemic and £3.75m to serve as the first instalment of an annual £15m fund for community health and wellbeing services.

Then-Minister for Mental Health Clare Haughey said at the time: “By providing funding to tackle the impacts of the pandemic, alongside a separate fund to provide long term mental health and wellbeing support, we aim to deliver help where it is needed.

“This funding is in addition to supporting the recruitment of an additional 80 mental health professionals to work with children and young people, and our recent announcement of a further £3.6m to help provide more than 80 additional counsellors in every college and university in Scotland over the next four years.

“We are also ensuring that every secondary school will have access to a counsellor.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in